The 5 Kinds of Hiring Managers HR Really Doesn’t Want to Deal With

Kris Dunn (The HR Capitalist) and I recently led a webinar on The Five Faces Managers See During a Performance Review and it got me thinking about this concept from the other side — What about the 5 Hiring Managers You Don’t Want – not only for performance reviews, but for interviews, development planning, discipline, etc.

In HR, we are constantly dealing with every type of hiring manager you can imagine, but I came up with the top 5 I hate dealing with:

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  1. The Up-And-Out: You know this person – usually happens in larger organizations – and at some point, they were given a manager/director/VP title because they were the last one standing. As the talent took off in the organization and moved to better positions with your competition, they kept moving up based mostly on the fact they had been around longer. But in the end, they lack talent, lack motivation, aren’t respected – and usually are way over their head. They’ve been promoted past their ability and are now just waiting to be fired or retire.
  2. The Nana-Nana-Boo-Boo I’m Better Than You: This the person who became a manager because they were probably the best at whatever function they were in, but lack leadership skills. So, their leadership philosophy is to continue to show their staff that they are still better than their team by showing them up – constantly and publicly. A huge piece of this stems from lack of self confidence, and they feel they have to continue to show their bosses why they put them in charge to begin with – because they “get” this stuff and no one else does.
  3. The Classic Politician: This is Captain Ass-Kisser (which was my first title for this hiring manager but I didn’t want to offend anyone), and Captain Fence Sitter. This is the hiring manager that will never take a stand, never be controversial, and never put themselves in a position where they will protect their team. That’s basically 85 percent of hiring managers at Fortune 500 companies (hey don’t get mad at me – I didn’t come up with the stat – OK, I did but it seems about right, right?).
  4. The Super Model: Have you ever noticed that most leaders are “pretty” people?  Not only that they’re tall, which makes for an abnormally tall and pretty combination. Look around at your leadership and you see three things: the average height is above the national average, they don’t have adult acne, and they have good hair. There actually have been academic studies done on this concept; people want their leaders like they want their celebrities – good looking and tall. Now this doesn’t make them less qualified, but it doesn’t make them more qualified, either. And yes, I’m short with red hair – and only my youngest son thinks I’m good looking – and that’s only because he hasn’t learned how to be snarky yet!
  5. The Tony Robbins-Stephen Covey-Wayne Dyer-Dr. Seuss: This one drives me completely insane. It’s the manager who reads leadership books constantly and only speaks in “leadership-quotes-I’ve-read-in-books” speak. You know — it’s gotta be a win-win, sharpen your saw, focus on our hedgehog, get that fly wheel going – kinda day! These are the people that don’t have an original thought in their head, but think their mash up of all the latest leadership crap somehow is an original masterpiece of their own.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


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